Disclaimer: The characters, items, places etc of Digimon are property of Toei Ltd. These objects are used without permission for entertainment only, not for making money. No infringement is intended.

Warning: This is very very depressing, and has references to somewhat adult situations, although none actually happen. Caution when reading, please. The R rating might be a little harsh, but I wasn't sure, and didn't want to get anybody riled... ^^ Set about a year after the end of 02.
I own the poem scattered throughout the fic too. That's what happens when I listen to Papa Roach ^^;;; Please don't take it ^^

Rain
by Nanaki Lioness

Rain. Soft, fine droplets clinging to everything it could, leaving no area in it's path uncovered as it's misty touch swallowed the atmosphere whole. It wasn't particulary heavy rain; just light enough to set a gentle mist across a person's hair, or to attach itself to clothing in small clear dots that were quickly absorbed by the fabric it landed on.

I hate rain. Especially this spray stuff...

The person who found themselves unlucky enough to be caught out in the shower sighed, not really caring that they were being covered from head to toe in moisture. They were seated at a wooden table in Odiaba park, arms crossed and lying across the wooden slats that formed the table. Eyes downcast, they looked up into the smoky clouds, earning an eyeful of rain droplets for their trouble.

deplete my will power
choke my air supply
cut my wrists
i no longer care

The person, a male, quickly cast their gaze downward, rubbing the moisture from his chocolate colored eyes wearily. It seemed his body hadn't registered it was raining yet, even though every time he breathed he felt like he was underwater, and every time ran a hand through his hair, he slicked the spray that had gently touched the surface further into the chestnut locks. The misty spray had soaked him within seconds of being outside, seeping into his pores like no other type of rainfall could, and yet still leaving a fine residue on the surface of his skin and his clothes.

I suppose the rain matches my mood, really. Dark, dull and depressing.

He was interrupted by a sudden ring tone from his cell phone, ringing incessantly for a few moments as he pulled it from his pocket and stared blankly, almost dazedly, at it. It still rang and pressed the answer button, bringing the small silver Nokia to his ear without saying a word. He knew somewhere in the back of his mind that, if the phone stayed out in the rain too long, it would stop working But he didn't care.

Silence for a moment, then the caller spoke for him. "Tai?"

"Hey TK," he said, somewhat surprised. "Tai, are you okay?" TK asked instantly. There was something wrong with Tai's voice; something missing...

"I'm fine."

"Tai-"

"I'm fine. What did you want?"

Tai heard the young boy sigh, tinny through the small speaker of the phone. "I was wondering if you and Matt had made up yet? I don't know what your fight was about this time, but...Tai?"

Tai pulled the phone from his ear again, staring at it as though it was TK himself.

"Tai?" He heard his friend's voice, faintly calling to him. He put the phone back to his ear. "Tai, are you there?"

"...yeah?"

"You sound...I dunno, you don't sound right. Do you want me to come round?"

"I'm not home."

"Where are you?"

"Doesn't matter. Leave me alone."

"Tai? Tai, where are you?"

Tai didn't say anything for a moment, leaning forward across the wooden table again, not noticing how wet the slats had become from the gentle rain. He dropped the phone onto the table, placing his head in his arms, no longer caring about the weather or the conversation.

"Tai?!"

He could hear TK's frantic shouts to him, soft and faintly metallic, from the phone. Without thinking, he picked it up and disconnected his friend, pocketing it again after locking the keys.

Don't want to speak to anybody.

slice my determination
break my spirit
splinter my faith
i won't care

He listened to the sound of his own breathing for a while, vaguely surprised he couldn't hear the rain.

But it's that stupid misty stuff...you can't hear it, it just attacks you without you even knowing it's there...

He sighed, not noticing just how wet he was until he breathed in some of the moisture droplets in the air and began to cough. He knew he'd make himself sick if he stayed out any longer, but he was in no mental state to care.

His cell phone rang again, and he ignored it. Yet it carried on ringing relentlessly, and he pulled it from his saturated pocket.

Should have turned it off.

He answered the call, still not saying a word.

"Tai...TK just called..."

Matt.

"I don't want to see anybody. Just leave me alo-" Tai broke of into a coughing fit, cursing himself mentally as he heard his friend's concerned voice through the speakers again.

"Tai, you sound sick. Where are you? You're not outside, are you?"

"So what if I am?" Tai answered when he had recovered.

"Tai, it's raining."

"Is it? Doesn't feel like rain to me...feels more like...mist..."

"Tai!"

"Why do you care anyway?"

Tai could almost see his friend's taken aback expression. "What is that meant to mean, Tai?! I know we're not on the best of terms right now, but that doesn't mean I'm not your friend! Tai-"

Tai disconnected the call and turned the device off, putting it away and glancing up at the skies again. He made sure to squint his eyes shut slightly to lessen the amount of drops that went into his eyes.

I don't care if I have to stay out here all night. I don't want to go home. I won't go home.

He had no idea how long he stayed like that, soaked through and thoroughly miserable. But he was soon faintly aware of footsteps coming up the path beside him, and someone calling his name. He glanced up as the person reached his side, and sighed in defeat. He had been found.

end my suffering
dull my pain
open my dead wounds
i don't care

"Tai, what do you think you're doing?!" Matt exclaimed, sinking down a little so he could see Tai's eyes, seeing as he had glanced up and averted them when he saw Matt. He made sure not to touch the ground with anything other than his shoes, suspending himself somewhat halfway between sitting and standing. "It's cold and wet out here, and you'll get sick!"

my will power is gone
depleted

"Already am," Tai said, coughing as he spoke. Matt narrowed his eyes, suspicious.

What's that meant to mean?!

my air supply is choked
aphexiated

"Come on. I won't leave you out here. Let's go somewhere warm and dry. I want to know what made you sit out in the rain, but I want to get inside before doing so." Matt grabbed his friend's arm and tried to pull him to his feet. Tai resisted, and Matt eventually stopped trying as his friend glared up at him, eyes narrowed dangerously. He was shivering a little, and Matt removed his jacket instantly, placing it over his friend, not caring that he was getting wet instead. Tai was already saturated, but Matt hoped the jacket might give him a little warmth.

my wrists are sliced
bleeding

Tai muttered something too softly to hear, trying to shrug the jacket off. Matt held Tai's shoulders firmly to keep the jacket on them and around his friend.

my determination is non-existant
vanished

"Tai, what happened...?" Matt asked. Seeing Tai like his worried him greatly. His friend was never so depressed. He was the cheerful, optimistic one; nothing could bring him down and keep him there.

my spirit is broken
shards

"Doesn't matter. Just leave me alone." Tai stood up abuptly, shrugging his friend's hands from his shoulders, intent on walking away.

my faith is shattered
pieces

Yet he couldn't. Matt had grabbed his arm and wasn't letting go, no matter how much Tai struggled to pull away.

"You're not going anywhere," Matt said sharply. "Let's go to the closest coffee shop so we can warm up and dry off. You're going to tell me what's wrong, Tai, so I can help you."

"I don't want your help!" Tai yelled, turning sharply to his friend, his soaked locks whipping into his eyes, stinging harshly yet he didn't notice. "I never asked for you to come here! I didn't want to be found! I didn't ask to be found!"

"You think I could just leave you though?" Matt protested, his voice level.

"You hate me right now."

"I don't hate you! Besides, I couldn't leave you to freeze to death out here!"

"Wouldn't care if I did..."

i suffer
i hurt
i bleed
i hate

Matt reeled at that comment, but then he firmly pushed his friend in the direction of the park exit. Comments like that were completly out of place from the bearer of courage, and he wanted to find out where they were coming from.

i no longer care

Tai resisted, turning and trying to push his friend away. Matt stopped and looked at him, features contorted in confusion.

"What is wrong with you?! Do I have to knock some sense into you?!"

Tai didn't reply, simply staring up at the cloud cover, angering Matt further.

"Tai, don't ignore me!"

"Shut up! Just shut up and leave me alone!"

Tai turned and curled his hand into a fist, lunging at Matt and making sure his fist connected with the blonde's cheekbone. Hard.

kill my pain
kill my spirit
kill me
kill

Matt stumbled back, hand to his cheek, a little shocked at Tai's reaction. But it only took a few seconds to recover, and he lunged forward, knocking Tai to the floor with the force of his revenge punch.

"Are you going to listen to me now?!" Matt yelled, his fist still curled into a ball, fuming visably.

Tai didn't reply, his body not taking in the moisture that was seeping through his clothes from the wet pavement he had landed on. He no longer cared, and he made no effort to get up from the floor.

kill life
kill man
kill all
kill

Calming down a little, Matt strode forward and offered his hand down to his friend. Tai didn't even look up at it, staring up at the sky, his eyes wide open. Matt blinked, seeing his friend as not even living for a moment, before panicking a little and bending down to drag him up from the ground.

Tai didn't resist, letting himself be pulled to his feet. Matt smiled at him compassionately once he was standing.

"We need to get you warm..."

"No. Leave me out here."

"Tai, I won't do that to you-"

"You won't want anything to do with me...just go, Matt."

worthless
wounded

Matt didn't reply. They were both drenched through, the misty rainfall coming thicker and faster now. Tai coughed again and Matt firmly decided he needed to take control of the situation. He took his friend's arm and tried to lead him away from the park, more forcefully this time. Tai pulled his from grasp, his fingers finding their way to his face where a bruise was forming a little at Matt's punch.

"Shouldn't have done that..." he muttered, turning away. Matt forcefully turned him back.

"What's going on, Tai? I'm fed up with all these games! Just tell me what's going on, and tell me now, before I really lose my temper!"

"You don't care!" Tai yelled, his eyes narrowed and blazing with anger. "No-one does! At least, if they do know, they won't anymore...I don't want to lose any friendships, so if you don't know, you can't judge!"

"I would never judge you Tai, you're my friend-"

"Just stop pretending to care! You don't, so don't act like you do!" Tai screeched, tears cascading down his cheeks without him even realising. "You want to know what's wrong?! Huh?! You really want to know?!"

Matt was unfazed. He simply reached out to his friend, wiping a tear away with his thumb and smiling a little. "If it's making you cry, then I want to know. If it made you sit out in the rain and get yourself sick, I want to know. And simply because it's hurting you, I want to know."

weak
hurt

Tai didn't calm down at all, he only recoiled at Matt's touch. "I'm dying Matt!" He sunk down to the floor, not caring about the wetness beneath him. "I'm dying..." He placed his head into his hands, sobbing harshly as he admitted to his friend what he hadn't admitted to himself.

i don't care
i won't care

Matt knelt down beside him, eyes wide. He certainly hadn't been expecting that.

"Tai..." he said gently. "Tai, I don't know what to say..."

"Don't say anything. Just leave me out here to die. At least I won't be in any pain." At least I won't have to live.

death, so inviting
pain, so invigorating

Matt halfway considered punching Tai again. He was never like this, ever. The blonde doubted the boy could even grasp the concept of suicide or death, let alone contemplate either. But he didn't hit his friend; he kept his temper in check. He was still a little shocked, but Tai seemed worse off than he, and Matt had to make sure he didn't do anything stupid.

"What's actually wrong?" He questioned. "What was the diagnosis?"

"HIV positive..."

"Oh god...Tai, I'm so so sorry...I know that doesn't make it better-"

"Don't be," Tai said, running a hand across his eyes to dry them. "T'isn't your fault."

life, so meaningless
mankind, so useless

"I know, but...I feel like I should have helped you...! How did you contract it, Tai? It's not as though you can just pick it up like you do a cold..."

"Needle...infected needle at a beach in the summer...I got sick a couple weeks ago - really sick - and I had a blood test taken...got the results back earlier today. I guess I freaked...and I ran..."

"So your parents don't know where you are?"

"No..."

"You should call them and let them know you're all right."

"They kept calling my cell phone...I kept cutting them off, so they stopped trying...I suppose they guessed I didn't want to see anyone..."

Matt shook his head, sighing. "We should get you somewhere warm. You can't afford to get sick, Tai...I don't know much about HIV though. I know it can develop into AIDS...but I don't know anything else about it. What are the symptoms?" And why was I stupid enough to not notice them? I know we weren't talking, but that's no excuse...

"I've been losing weight...I have been, since that fever a couple weeks ago...that's two symptoms of HIV. HIV destroys the immune system..."

"Then if you get sick now, it won't do you any good...come on." Matt forcefully pulled Tai to his feet, and Tai didn't protest, letting himself be walked from the park. Matt made sure to keep a compassionate arm round his friend's shoulders, making it perfectly clear that, no matter what, he still wanted to be his friend. He could almost see Tai's inner turmoil, and his earlier confession about not wanting to tell people in case they hated him.

no more pain
no more hurt
no more
no

The rain was still as relentless as ever, and Matt turned to Tai, concerned, as his friend began to cough again. He pushed him across the road to a local coffee shop, entering and sitting Tai down at a table for two near a radiator. Taking a seat himself, he leant across the table to Tai, who was averting his eyes.

"You're probably going to get sicker in the morning. You're going to the doctor first thing. But right now you're going to phone home."

"Can I take your order?"

They glanced up at a waitress who had appeared at their side.

"Two hot chocolates please," Matt said. The waitress nodded and waltzed away, Matt scowling at her back, cursing her for being so happy when his friend was in such turmoil.

That kind of attitude isn't going to help Tai. Snap out of it.

But I don't want him to die...

Stop it! That won't help anybody! Idiot.

"Tai..." Tai looked up him again. "When...when do you think it'll take affect? I mean, really hard...?"

Tai shrugged. "My parents didn't have a chance to give me very many details. I know you can live a perfectly normal life with HIV, so long as you don't get too sick..."

"Which you won't," Matt said firmly.

They stared out the window next to them in silence, watching the rain tap gently on the glass, a melodious rhyme that couldn't be placed into rhythm. The misty spray was still present, but the raindrops were falling faster and harder now. Both of them were still drenched, and for once neither of them had commented on how their hair looked. They had more important things to worry about.

is it worthless?
is it useless?
is it?

Their hot chocolates were bought to them and they thanked the waitress, again being reminded of how happy people around them were. Both of them shrugged it off though; they knew pity would get them no-where.

"So what are you going to do?" Matt eventually asked after a few more minutes of silence.

Tai shrugged. "What can I do? Nothing." He sighed, slamming his mug down. "Stupid needle. Knew I should have got checked out when it pricked me, but no, I had to brush it off and make like I'm infallable..."

"Tai, you weren't to know. Don't go blaming yourself."

"Matt...you know HIV and AIDS is associated with, don't you? People are going to start saying things..."

"What, that you're gay, and you picked it up from unsafe sex with a guy?" Matt said with a shrug. Tai glanced at him, a little shocked his friend was being so blunt. "What? You told me to be blunt, so I was. Tai, it's nobody's business, right? As long as you know it's not true, it doesn't matter what they think."

"I know it shouldn't...but it does..."

"But as long as the people who love you still care, do you really mind what others say?" Matt reached out, his hand lightly resting upon his friend's. "I'll always be here at least. I don't think any differently of you. It really hurts to know what's happening to you, and I wish I could stop it...I wish I could take your pain and your hurt and make it better." He sighed, looking at the table. "But I can't. I can't do anything other than be there for you. I hope that's enough..."

maybe
maybe it's not
maybe i can make it
maybe, maybe...

"Matt...thank you..."

Matt grinned, tapping his friend's hand lightly before withdrawing his own. "Sure, any time." He picked up his hot chocolate, sipping it gently. "Are you going to call your parents?"

"Yeah. They're probably worried enough as it is."

Tai pulled the cell phone from his pocket, dialing his home number, a slight smile on his face.

my will power is back
my air supply plentiful
my wrists healed

It might take some time, but I can live with this. I know I can...

my determination is strong
my spirit whole
my faith complete

"Hi Mom...it's Tai. Yeah, I'm okay..."

I care

"Don't worry Mom, I'm with Matt. He'll make sure I get home safe. But could you book an appointment for me at the doctors tomorrow? I'm a little sick, and I don't want it to get worse. Huh? Yeah, I'm fine now...I can live with this, can't I Mom? Yeah. I'll be home soon, don't worry. Bye."

He placed the Nokia back in his pocket, picking up his hot chocolate, brown eyes connecting with blue across the table.

I care

Take each day as it comes. I can get through this. I know I can.

"You'll be fine, Tai," Matt said, as if reading his thoughts. "You've got help, and you've got people who care."

"I know. Thank you."

Matt shrugged, eyes gazing to the window. The rainfall had begun to ease up, light beginning to flit through the smoky gray clouds, reflecting off the puddles on the pavement.

It was going to be a beautiful afternoon.

~fin~

Author's Notes: Oh man, where the hell did this dig itself up from? I had an image of someone sitting in the rain and this fic formed itself. And there aren't very many Tai fics around, really, and if there are, can someone point me in the right direction?! ^_^ ?It's not Taito btw, anybody who wants to flame me thinking so. It's simply friendship.

I'm aware this is left in a place that could have a sequel; I don't know if I will yet. Maybe ^_^

Feedback to Nanaki_Lioness@hotmail.com, or reviews below at ff.net, would be greatly appreciated! Again, I own the poem scattered throughout; treat it as a seperate story and don't take, thanks much.